My training team has finished two interview skills workshops this month for the graduating students of Riverside Secondary and Woodlands Secondary. It is interesting that the focus of these workshops is geared towards helping the students to tackle the EAE interview with greater confidence.

The Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) allows students to secure a place in the local polytechnics before they sit for their GCE ‘O’ Level examinations. Best of all, students with sterling achievements in art, sports, leadership or community service will also be considered. 

Now almost every respectable college has an interview of some sorts after you have cleared the preliminary round of selections. For institutes of higher learning like the local polytechnics, the EAE interview round too is now mandatory.

In my survival blog post today, let’s discuss the 3 ways you should tackle the EAE polytechnic interviews so as to greatly increase your chances of being accepted.


#1: Prepare Early

Admission applications for polytechnics in the following year start in June/July. If you are interested in a certain course, do some research well in advance. Even if you are uncertain of which course to take, read up on a few possible ones that you are particularly keen on. Asking around for advice or reading future market trends for “hot” industries too can be useful. 

Preparing early will give you ample time to come up with a portfolio to show your immense interest. And I think you probably know this – anything impressive needs time to crystallise into fruition. That’s why movie blockbusters take a longer time to produce as compared to smaller budget movies.


#2: Do Your Research

Well, let’s just say you are interested in aerospace electronics. Which polytechnic should you apply to? After all, there are three polytechnics offering this course – namely Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.

This is where you really need to do your research. Besides the difference in course content, you should consider other factors such as school culture, teaching style, facilities etc. The list is endless! But the more you know, the better you are at impressing the interviewers. 

You don’t want to enter a course blindly and then end up regretting or wanting to switch course or poly later.


#3: Prepare For Standard Interview Questions

Besides the usual “tell me about yourself” type of questions, there are some interview questions specific for EAE. 

They include, but are not limited to the following:-


Why did you choose this course? 

What do you think (the course you applied for) is all about? 

What are you future career aspirations (in this industry)?


Let’s put it this way – if you are not prepared at all for the ‘standard’ interview questions, then you might as well just stay at home as you are depriving others who are more worthy of a place. It also demonstrates your laziness or as what Singlish terms as your ‘bo chap’ attitude.


I like to think of the EAE polytechnic interview as a meeting of great minds - where you, a fresh-faced applicant meets an experienced lecturer or course chair. When the expectations of both are met, then there will be a good that is able to last all three years of poly life. Wishing everyone a smooth EAE interview journey ahead =)



Many people confuse personal branding with personal grooming. They think personal branding is personal grooming. 

If you are one of those who are still confused, then do read on as I will explain the difference between the two. 

In a nutshell, personal branding has always been portrayed as mysterious, arduous and requiring deep pockets. It’s something which only big corporations could engage in.

But not anymore.

Well you see, one of my greatest gifts is the ability to simplify difficult concepts into bite-size nuggets, help you internalize them and systemize them eventually. 

Let me share with you what personal branding is all about. 

In essence, there are 3 tenets of personal branding. And if you master all three tenets, you will become a pro in whatever industry you choose to be in. That's what I always share with the participants who attend my branding workshops.


Tenet #1: Brand Story

We all have a story. 

Similarly, your brand too has one.

Do you have a story that is attractive (in the sense whereby it retains attention)?

If yes, are you able to encapsulate that story and tell it to others in under 1 minute?


Tenet #2: Brand Image

This is where personal grooming comes in. As you can see, personal grooming is at best only a segment of personal branding. We can think of it as a sub-set of personal branding.

What image would you want others to remember you? Someone professional and polished? Or someone casual and laid-back?

We choose our image. It is that image that signifies us. And with that image, there is a perception value behind which people will associate it with.

Use this simple analogy – when you look into the mirror, do you see yourself as a kitten or lion? After all, both animals belong to the feline family. Herein lies the power of image versus perception.


Tenet #3: Brand Language

Language is a powerful medium which we human beings use to communicate our views, ideas and opinions to others. 

The language we choose must be carefully crafted so that it helps elicit similar emotions in our target audience.

Inside all of us reside an emotional repository of feelings. So when we are engaged with emotive language, it helps tug at our heartstrings. And naturally when the heartstrings feel a strong sense of emotions, the purse-strings or wallet-strings will naturally open too.

So there you have it – my 3 tenets of personal branding. As you can see, personal branding is an extremely exciting journey which, if you manage it properly, will pay you handsome dividends just like a bluechip does.